Candynomics

I have a confession. I have a hypocritical view on candy.

This has caused such frustration and inner turmoil as a parent and particularly a mom that reads and researches exhaustively about wellness and nutrition. I’m selective and choosy. It’s annoying, but I’d like to think it’s paid off in our general well-being. But, one can never take too much credit in their own abilities to maintain or establish better health. Genetics, resources to good health care, and medical history play a huge role and sometimes just can’t be circumnavigated!

But back to the sweet talk …

Candy is certainly a yummy way to moderately treat yourself to something sweet every once in a while, but I CRINGE when I’m asked, “Mommy, can I have a piece of candy?” Up to several weeks ago, I had internal moments of going all craze-eyed and wanting to stick my fingers in my ears and sing  ‘la-la-la-la-la-la … I can’t hear you’  very loudly every time I was (super politely) asked for a piece of candy.

My husband, bless him, pointed out the good in our 6-yr-old’s asking us for a piece of candy. She IS being obedient and NOT sneaking and hoarding candy, then gorging herself silly to the point of sickness. I may have done this as a child a time or two. I have heard this sometimes happens with kids who can’t get enough of their candy stash. So, I am super thankful that our Cakes knows to ask first! (And I’m thankful for my husband’s insight and wisdom. I adore that fella.)

As for me, I particularly love the chocolate variety and can nibble M&Ms while sipping coffee for hours. Buzzed much?!  With the exception of pink Starburst chews, all the sweet and sour fruity candies, lollipops, and tangy stuff can just be labeled as garbage. Especially Nerds. Yuck!

But, I have two all-candy lovin’ aficionados under my roof and we have to keep a reign on consumption, lest we destroy our bodies immunity and crash our health all for the love of sugar, artificial flavorings, and chemical dyes. Not to mention the dentistry offices we could support with rotten teeth! However, we’ve put into practice good habits for when we do choose to indulge, like limiting consumption, good brushing and flossing, and some simple candy economics.

But when the autumn winds blow in cooler temps, leaves go ablaze with colors, and trick-or-treaters ring the doorbell, the overwhelming urge to stuff your cheeks full of mini-wrapped goodness is hard to resist!

Enter the candy bank, rather the Daily Candy Bag. All you need is:

  • zipper food bags
  • labels
  • CANDY!

*I honestly prayed for wisdom on how to make this visual for Cakes (definitely her learning style), allow for sweet treats, and eliminate my having to be asked for candy. (Again, imagine my maniacal reaction to hearing the question asked several times a day. Cra-zy!)

Here’s what we put together …

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*Click to enlarge and view the labels!

I gave Cakes 8 snack-size bags, labels for every day of the week (Monday’s Candy Bag and so on) plus one Bonus Candy Bag, her candy pail, and a larger zip bag to store all the bags together in one place. I used different fun fonts for each day of the week’s label, asked her to choose two pieces to put in every bag, and 7 pieces to put in the bonus bag.

The rules for consuming the daily candy are: you don’t have to ask, but no candy before breakfast or school, no candy when you’re ill or have a fever, and no asking for bonus candy. The bonus candy are pieces that we can grant her when we want to reward a certain behavior (extra helpfulness, patience, awesome listening, etc.) If she asks for a bonus piece, it’s an automatic no! We explained that bonuses may not always be paid in candy, as two pieces a day is certainly plenty, but we may treat with other options like playing at the park, screen time, a trip to the library, etc.

*Occasionally, we do grant a third piece of candy and I’ve found a particularly personally enjoyable sensible way to say ‘yes.’ Cakes is allowed a third piece, maybe once or twice a week, as the usual two pieces per day adequately satisfy her sweet tooth, if she gets super active and revs up her calorie and sugar-burning engine. Most commonly, she has to do jumping jacks, run in place on the rebounder, circle the kitchen island 5 or 6 times, and brush her teeth immediately after crunching on the extra piece.

How do you allow for treats but put limits on enjoying it for your kiddos? Any one else driven bonkers with the mere asking for candy? 😉

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